Title: Akame ga Kill Vol. 1
Author: Takahiro (Story), Tetsuya Tashiro (Art)
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Publication Date: January 20, 2015
Simply put, Akame ga Kill is a story about a group of assassins known as Night Raid. They are a special sect of a revolutionary army that is looking to overthrow the minister who is manipulating the emperor of the royal capitol.
One day, a boy named Tatsumi, fights off a monster known as a danger beast and looks to take his skills to the capitol in order to earn enough money to save his impoverished village. After being swindled out of his money, he is picked up by a generous noble, but things go south after Night Raid attacks the mansion he’s staying in. It’s revealed that the girl who took him in tricks unsuspecting people from the country and then tortures them to death. Among those tortured were Ieyasu and Sayo, two of Tatsumi’s friends who got separated on their way to the capitol. In a rage, Tatsumi kills the girl himself and ends up being brought back to Night Raid’s base of operations where he is given the option to join them, which he does.
From here, we start to get to know our characters while Tatsumi gets his feet wet as a part of Night Raid. After a couple of successful missions, it seems someone targeting Night Raid has made an appearance and next volume will see a new threat to the assassin group step forward!
This is a series in which I’ve seen the anime for and I absolutely loved it. I’m picking up the manga series because I know, at some point, the anime deviated from the manga and things became pretty different. I wanted to see where those differences are so I could experience the story as intended by the source material. So far, volume one lines up with the anime rather perfectly and all the little quirks remain intact! Some of those quirks were in the character development department.
One thing I kind of laughed at was how the manga pokes fun at itself in terms of character development. Through this, we learned about Akame and Mine’s backstories in an abrupt way. It was literally Leone saying “I’ll tell you about Akame’s past” in one instance and Tatsumi thinking “I wonder what her story is only to have Mine immediately begin talking about her past as well. The only character that was given a story to in a non-humorous way was Bulat as his seemed to just come naturally.
The thing about these backstories is they’re all rather one dimensional. It seems like each character has their own reason for turning their back against the government, but in a story like this… it’s all you really need. Bulat heard about what the emperor and the minister were doing and turned his back on the imperial army he was part of, Akame was trained as an assassin, but also turned her back on the emperor after being persuaded by Night Raid’s boss and Mine was an outcast from her tribe until one day she came across the revolutionary army. There really isn’t much to their backstories, so what makes these characters so special?
Each character has a life of their own and while some of them seem a little trope-ish, they are still presented in a relatable way. Through their dialogue and their expressions… the little quirks I mentioned before… you get a sense for how these characters truly are. Just from a book she’s reading, you can tell Sheele is kind of a clutz. Akame has trust issues, but opens up once she knows that you won’t die on her. Mine is a classic tsundere while Bulat is gay, but like a big brother to Tatsumi right off the bat. Lubbock I is a ladies man and The boss is… well… the boss. She’s a militaristic commander, but she has a sense of humor about things when needed.
Their personalities all mesh together well and it really makes Night Raid feel like a family more than anything. What I like about Tatsumi so far is that he’s not being portrayed as the weak main character stuck in a moral dilemma. He has a goal and he has a purpose. He has shown that he will do what it takes to reach that goal, even if it means having to kill people. The only thing Tatsumi needs is a bit of combat training and he’s getting that from both Akame and Mine in this volume. Tatsumi’s bland personality works because it acts as a balance to some of the wilder characters like Leone. It doesn’t mean Tatsumi doesn’t have a personality of his own, though. He is a bit naïve and sometimes full of himself, but he has also shown that he can learn as well.
The first volume of Akame ga Kill did a great job establishing the world that the series lives in. You get to see the struggles of a population under an oppressive ruler, you understand there is a revolution coming to overthrow the government and then you realize there’s Night Raid looking in the shadows just waiting to make people’s heads roll for the sake of that revolution. The character’s personalities bring life to the story even if their backstories aren’t all that interesting.
One thing I liked about it was a little gag where Mine says she could send Tatsumi to another manga with the spin of the wheel. Some of the choices were Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Umineko no Naku Koro ni and Corpse Party… which took up three rather big wedges of the wheel. I don’t remember that gag being in the anime, but I do love it when a series takes a stab at breaking the fourth wall like that.
Akame ga Kill’s first volume does a great job painting a picture of things to come all while letting you settle into their world with, practically, no confusion. It establishes its characters straight away and lets you learn about them moreso through their personalities rather than their short and to the point backstories. The action scenes are quick and presented in a more realistic manner rather than as overblown and drawn out battles like you would see in a shonen manga, which keeps things fresh and moving along.
This series gets my recommendation based off my previous knowledge of the anime and the fact that the quality remains intact here in volume one!
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This item was provided for review by Yen Press